New Zealand balloon crash kills 11

2012-01-07 10:04

kalahari.com

  • New Zealand
    The guide that shows you New Zealand what others only tell you. Now R287.00
    buy now

Wellington - A hot air balloon burst into flames and crashed to the ground in New Zealand on Saturday, killing all 11 people on board, after apparently hitting a power line.

The balloon came down in calm weather near Carterton, a small town north of the capital Wellington and a popular area for ballooning, in New Zealand's worst aviation disaster in more than 30 years.

"It appears a fire has ignited on board, causing the hot air balloon to crash in farmland. Sadly, the pilot and 10 passengers onboard have not survived," Wellington district police commander Mike Rusbatch said.

One witness, David McKinlay, told reporters he looked up to see one side of the basket on fire and "all of a sudden there was just 10 metres of flames".

"It was like a rocket coming down; it was just unbelievable," he said.

McKinlay, who alerted the emergency services, said the balloon was about 150 metres in the air when it suddenly plummeted to the ground.

Another witness told Fairfax News he was waving to the passengers as the balloon passed overhead and appeared to hit a power cable.

"The people were enjoying a nice ride and by the looks of it they clipped a power wire," he said.

"Then I heard the screams and looked out the window and heard it coming down. They sounded like screams of joy but they weren't. It wasn't coming from a great deal of height.

"I ran down the road to see if I could help but by that stage it was too late. It was just burned out. By the time the emergency services got there, there wasn't much of a chance."

Investigation

Two of the passengers are believed to have leaped from the burning basket and were found in a nearby paddock.

Jacqui O'Connor, a nurse holidaying in the area, said she raced to the scene, dodging fallen power lines to reach the victims.

"There was live wire all over the people and the paddock," she said.

It was New Zealand's worst aviation disaster since 1979 when an Air New Zealand jet crashed into Mount Erebus in Antarctica killing 257 people.

Police say they were alerted to the crash just before 07:30. Ballooning companies in Carterton, about 150km north of Wellington, recommend early morning flights.

Reporters at the scene said the crash site has been cordoned off and only emergency workers and the families of those on board the balloon were being allowed through.

The names and nationalities of those on board had yet to be released but Carterton Mayor Ron Mark said he believed they were a mix of locals and tourists.

The balloon was believed to have been owned by Ballooning New Zealand director Lance Hopping, who has more than 1 000 hours of commercial ballooning experience.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said an investigation was under way to determine the cause of the crash and draw up recommendations to prevent a similar accident in future.

"We are deeply sorry to learn of this tragic accident and our hearts go out to those who are now mourning the loss of life," Brownlee said.

"Experts will be looking to learn any lessons from the investigations which have begun today which can help improve safety for others in the future."

Hot air ballooning is tightly governed in New Zealand with operators requiring special certification.

Read more on:    new zealand
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2820.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.